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Whether you are caring for someone nearing the end-of-life full-time or even just occasionally helping out, caregiving can be mentally, physically and emotionally demanding. Caregivers often report feeling “burned out”.
Common Reasons for Caregiver Burnout:
Lack of control
Your loved one is likely suffering from a number of physical and emotional symptoms, and their condition can change or worsen overnight. Caregivers may feel like they have no way of exerting control over their situation or knowing what to expect next; they are simply along for the ride. This can lead to feelings of anger, sadness, and helplessness.
Too many roles
Most caregivers occupy multiple other roles: they are spouses, parents, friends, and children. The demands of caregiving, coupled with these other roles, can cause a person to feel as if they are being pulled in numerous different directions. This can be extremely stressful, and can make someone feel as if they aren’t putting enough time into any of their individual relationships.
Caregivers are often emotionally attached to the person they are looking after, which adds an extra layer of emotion and anxiety. Seeing a loved one in pain, and feeling responsible for their health and happiness, can be a huge emotional burden.
Caregivers often place unreasonable demands on themselves; they want to be constantly available and able to help the people around them. By expecting too much of themselves, caregivers can start feeling inadequate or overwhelmed, and shouldering blame when anything goes wrong.
What Are the Signs of Burnout?
A physical sign of burnout is getting sick more often than usual. Caregivers may feel susceptible to every bug going around and constantly feel under the weather.
Caregivers experiencing burnout often feel overwhelming stress and sadness, and may start losing patience with other people out of frustration.
Lack of hobbies or self-care
A warning sign for burnout is when caregivers stop participating in activities they enjoy and no longer pay attention to their personal health. This may include eating an unhealthy diet or dropping hobbies or activities.
Insomnia is a common symptom of burnout. Caregivers may experience trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, and feel constantly groggy or exhausted.
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, then you may be suffering from burnout, but it’s no reason to panic. Hospice West Parry Sound’s Caregiver program has been developed to help you cope and to emotionally and physically recharge, so you are better equipped to handle the normal day-to-day challenges of caregiving.
Our program includes:
A regular Volunteer Visitor can provide respite care for several hours at a time. This service will allow you to get away for a few hours and take care of other things or just have some much needed ‘me time.’ Hospice West Parry Sound has a team of highly-trained volunteers available to sit with your loved one.